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Pyrography with Lynda Gibbs Eaves

Welcome to the Art of Pyrography and the Craft of Woodburning, with Canadian Award Winning Artist Lynda Gibbs Eaves...Enjoy the photos of Lynda's Wildlife work with Wolves, Tigers,Horses,Bears and many more.

Friday, May 05, 2006

FREE Pyrography TIPS to get You started .

FREE PYROGRAPHY TIPS to get You started on a Fine Art Approach to Pyrography with LYNDA

Hi, my name is Lynda and I would like to talk abit about what I do before I get started on my pyrography/woodburning project.

Please feel free to explore my blog....and look at examples of my work.

I have been doing Pyrography since l998 full time , and teaching since 2000 at 2 day workshops here in Canada at my cottage...So, if you like what I am doing in Pyrography, particularly, wildlife pyrography, then maybe these free tips about how I prepare for a project...will help you get started.

This is important...and crucial to the success of your pyrography project. Its my reccomendation that you start with basswood....and the cross cut type...with or without the bark. It has a nice clean grain that makes it easier to burn on. It is one of the 'softer' woods...making burning at the lower temperatures possible and more comfortable for you too. (Your burning tool won't get too hot)
Should basswood not be the wood you are working on... then consider the grain when laying out your project. The direction of grain will play a big part in the success of your burning.

I sand my wood according to what my pyrography project is. If I am burning monochromatic....then I sand it to a very smooth finish. This will make the 'soft' transitions of shading with your burner easier.

If my project will involve colour.... I don't sand AS smooth...Sanding it with 220 Grit for my Colour Pyrography ...rather than the 400+grit for the Monochromatic (Natural) burning. Sanding it with the lower grit paper for colour...will leave the grain of the basswood more 'open' or 'porous'...and will absorb the colour more effectively , than on a 'slicker' sanded surface.
NOTE: always sand 'with' the grain, not against it as this will cause it to be 'fuzzy' , disrupting the grain and maybe causing problems as your burner crosses it (can raise the grain).

When I start a project... I burn it very lightly to begin with.
I then establish my darkest darks... working from dark to lighter
Each 'layer' of burn that I do, is the same 'value'....but layer one upon the other...will make it look darker....rather than having a 'heavy hand' and charring the wood trying to get that dark right off the bat.

I am ususually pulling the burner towards me...even if this means turning the wood. You have to be aware of the grain of the wood also when you burn as crossing against the grain will effect your strokes.

Take time to rest. I never burn longer than l5 minutes at a time. I take the time to get up...move the pyrography I am working on a distance away...and rest my eyes from the whole project. Then when I am refreshed....and having glanced at it now and then...ready to dive in again with a fresh perspective and excited about what I need to do next. This also works if you are at a point in your woodburning, that you are unsure as to how to proceed. Do the above and the same works.... it may take longer to see what to do next...but you Will. (a mirror helps if you are truley stuck...or a good friend /spouse ).

You are going along...burning happily...all of a sudden you aren't getting the results you were getting...its harder to make marks??
TIP: Check your tip. Is it black and dirty looking? Time to clean it. Tips need to be regularly cleaned to have optimal perfomance. Look at the manufacturers guidelines on your type of burner for tip care instructions. You should keep them shiny and bright so they will make a nice clean burn for you. I personally use a solid tip burner. I favour the shading tip... and I have 220 grit sandpaper on a board that I can readily swipe it across to remove the buildup of carbon, while it is still hot. I also have a rough side of leather or denim that you can run your tip over too. Of course for a thorough cleaning , burner should be off. A higher grit of paper is used at that time on mine (400) and I polish it up to its original brass. Because it is a realatively soft metal (brass), my tip is never subjected to wire brushes and the like .... or messed with while its hot with plyers etc as the thredding can be harmed by either practise. I have tips that I've used for years by treating them in this manner.... some I have deliberately sanded to a fine edge on one side.


Starting to burn with your burner touching the wood will make a 'dot' mark everytime. You must have your burner 'moving' and just drop it down on the wood at the right place...keep it moving and then pick it up off the wood when you get to the end of your stroke... try it... practice on a scrap of wood and see for yourself.